The Intricacies of Pipes and the new World of Pipe Tobacco

Pipes are like cars, the weather, a good bottle of wine, a choice of a mate – you get the picture. Smoking a pipe is an experience defined by lots of variables including the pipe tobacco (most important), the type of pipe, the company you keep and much more. 

Every pipe has it’s own unique characteristics and to a pipe smoker a pipe is like an old trusted friend the smoker pulls out when they need to need a familiar taste experience. And, the more it’s smoked, the more the pipe takes on the characteristics of its owner but like all products may show some wear and tear over time.

pipe tobacco smoker

Five tips that tell you it’s time to put your treasured pipe on the shelf. 

Every pipe uses a screen for filtering the tobacco and smoking experiences, it’s the de rigueur component every pipe has.

  • Unfortunately as a pipe ages the screen component will begin to get a bit long in the tooth – you will find with an older pipe even as you replace the screen the taste experience is not what it could or should be. 
  • “Screen issues” don’t mean you need to toss the pipe; but they are indicative of an aging problem. Act accordingly. 

Understanding pipe cigar repairs can only help you so much. Any good repair show can swap out parts for you, refurbish the pipe overall, do a deep cleaning that’s much better than what you can do at home. 

  • But, if you find yourself taking a pipe into the repair shop for a tune up 2-3 times per year it may be time to think about retiring it to your den, to be pulled out only on special occasions. 

Cleaning is no longer generating a better taste.The wood in a pipe over time will begin to absorb the flavor of the pipe tobacco you are using. A cleaning experience gets rid of accumulated sludge that builds up over time. But if you are cleaning your pipe and still getting an overhang bad taste it may be time to retire the pipe from active service. 

Every pipe has a profile that’s unique to the inherent materials (wood, meerschaum, etc.) used int pipe. But, as you use the pipe frequency can impact your love affair with the pipe and you may be looking for a different pipe. 

  • As all of you know, every pipe has somewhat of a unique taste but this process is analogous to why cigar smokers have their favorites; but the short list is usually more than one or two major brands. 
  • The same holds true for pipes. If the taste is no longer working it’s time to make a change. 

cool couple on the beach

How to Select  an Aromatic Pipe Tobacco for Your New Pipe 

Almost every smoker chooses pipe tobacco that’s somewhat aromatic and then graduates to more robust English blends and then steps up to the bar and goes long with straight Virginias and Virginia-Periques pipe tobacco (know as VaPers). 

For many of you if you are breaking in a new pipe or just getting started aromatics are a great way to get started – the smoking experience is usually better served with a light aromatic. 

Every pipe tobacco brand or flavor has inherent nicotine in it and even if you are not inhaling it you will get nicotine in your body via the membranes in your mouth. 

And early on nicotine favors can turn you off to pipe. You should carefully appraise the nicotine content in your pipe tobacco and a more aromatic lighter blend typically has less nicotine characteristics than a stronger blend.

What You Can Expect to Pay for Pipe Tobacco 

Pipe tobacco prices are all over the map like many products. You can find a good tin of pipe tobacco for $5-20 bucks that’s going to taste good and work for you. But, you’ll find pipe aficionados who love more exoctic types of pipe tobacco; like a good Scotch, the value is somewhat determined by how experienced you are and your budget. 

You can find an exoctic pipe tobacco like Powell’s Gentlemen’s Mixture and a 50 ounce tin can set you back a grand ore more via Ebay or at a pipe tobacco trade show. Is it worth the taste for the average consumer? Probably not. In this case you are paying for a rarity and no offense meant, but for the average pipe smoker the value is not going to be there.

When and where a more expensive pipe tobacco comes into play is how your palate is educated. More expensive pipe tobacco products in most cases impart a richer flavor and your taste experience is going to be richer for experimentation.

It’s a good thing to deviate from the norm from time to time with a more exoctic blend of pipe tobacco – you are educating your taste buds and broadening your knowledge of pipes and pipe tobacco. Perspective is everything!

Learn more:

The Premium Cigar and Pipe Tobacco Manifesto